The Lula City Council held meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 9 and 10, to continue work on the city's proposed zoning ordinances. City leaders are working to establish ordinances to deal with new development in the city.
City Manager Dennis Bergin told the council members to be specific in what they want for the city.
“We force their (developers) hand with ordinances,” he said.
Bergin said City Attorney Brad Patten also recommended that the council be specific and concise in how the city's ordinances are written.
“Our attorney wanted me to tell you three things to remember when approving an ordinance or rezoning,” he said. “You must have two advertised readings, which cannot be held within seven days of each other, and you must have one advertised public hearing.”
One of the issues discussed on Tuesday was whether to base the number of homes in a development on the gross number of acres or the net number of acres. The council agreed that the number of homes should be based on the gross number of acres.
The net would be figured after subtracting out the total number of acres for the buffers, roads, stream, amenities, etc.
A 50-foot undisturbed or vegetative buffer for each development was also discussed. Bergin said a lot in any development should never go into the buffer or creek areas. Mayor Milton Turner also said he was in agreement with this.
Another question Bergin presented to the council was when the developer will be required to provide amenities.
“At the point we set,” Turner said.
Turner said the city currently requires amenities be provided in a development of 50 lots or more.
Bergin then said, “And what amenities do we propose? A pavilion, picnic area, playground, etc. and who owns this?”
Bergin urged the council to be specific in lot sizes, not just say one lot per acre or four lots per acre.
Bergin said, “We want the developer to make money, but we want them to do it our way.” The one goal of establishing ordinances is to accomplish one joint community, Bergin said.
At Wednesday's meeting, the council talked about the laws that govern how a property owner uses their property.
Council member Mordecai Wilson said, “Just because you own property doesn't mean you can do whatever you want with it.”
Bergin said, “You are correct. The state law protects a property owner for the best use of his/her property. Every use is guaranteed by law in your community. You (the council) can't just arbitrarily decide you don't like this or you don't like that when denying a rezoning request.”
Bergin said the council needs to always recognize who gets affected and how the public is protected. The comprehensive land use and the surrounding properties' use should play into the zoning, Bergin said.
The council will continue to work on its zoning ordinances before they are adopted. Upcoming meetings will be announced later.